Tarantino begins with the logo from a
1970s Hong Kong production
company, Shaw Brothers, the curtain-
raiser for innumerable fan references.
Appropriation, borrowing or paying
‘homage’ to other ﬁlms.
• The main convention of Tarantino’s
homage to martial arts ﬁlms, Kill Bill, is
• “I steal from every single movie ever made.
If people don't like that, then don't go and
see it, all right? I steal from everything.
Great artists steal, they don't do homages.”
Quentin Tarantino – from an interview with
• Nearly everything in Kill Bill operates in
part as homage to other ﬁlms.
• For instance, the opening credit sequence
and music evoke memories of Hong Kong’s
legendary Shaw Brother’s ﬁlms of the
• Why does he do this?
Actors were chosen as previous roles they played and martial arts stories. David
Carradine (above) plays Bill (in Kill Bill Volume II). Widely known for his role in the
1970s TV series ‘Kung Fu’. He is playing what seems to be the same ﬂute!
• He plays ‘Hatori
Hanzo’ – the character
that makes the sword
for The Bride.
• Chiba played the
same character in the
1970s show ‘Shadow
• Hanzo was a Samurai
warrior from the 16th
Plays Pai Mei in Kill Bill –he starred in a
martial arts show ‘The 36 Chambers of
In his earlier ﬁlms he fought a same
character as in KIll Bill.
Some members of the audience will
recognise the intertextual reference. In
this way, Kill Bill is strikingly postmodern
in the sense that it deliberately plays with
the audience’s knowledge of its source
material. For certain audience members, a
large part of the pleasure of watching the
ﬁlms is therefore the sheer frission of
recognizing the references.
Why is the inter textual casting
• Film fans can be thought of as ﬁlm
“connoisseurs.” Numerous websites
exist in which fans of Kill Bill
distinguish themselves into a type of
social order based on who “gets” the
references and who doesn't; who’s
seen a particular other ﬁlm and who
hasn't and how much their cultural
capital is rewarded.
• First ﬁght scene: martial arts ﬁght between two assassins who
used to work together.
• Standard convention for many martial arts ﬁlms from the
• Post modern twist in Kill Bill is that this otherwise standard
violent confrontation takes place in a quite house on a quite
suburban Pasadena street.
• Even the weapons used in this ﬁght highlight the unusual
juxtaposition between the “epic” struggle of assassins and the
“mundane” setting: ﬁre irons, kitchen knives and frying pans
are all used.
• This makes it post modern.
Playing with Genre
• Legendary ﬁgures from
martial arts mythology
powers, which ﬁlm’s
Here, the big ﬁght
scene plays with Kiddo’s
and thus makes a
playful commentary on
the genre itself.
Subversion of the martial arts genre
• Kill Bill takes many standard elements,
but takes them to extremes
• Women are the featured ﬁghters—
including Kiddo, Gogo, and O-Ren.
This is counter-typical for this genre.
• It has a non-standard musical score.
Playful with genre
• In the big 20 minute ﬁght scene few martial arts
clichés or images are left out.
• Either rhythm and phrasing, imagery, sound-effect,
visual effect, weaponry, props or tableaux.
• In this sense, the ﬁght itself is not meant to be
exciting or suspenseful as much as it is meant to be
intellectually entertaining and even humorous
with respect to the genre conventions and
• In the ﬁght sequence, he juxtaposes
stereotypical female gender roles with
extremely violent—even sociopath—behavior.
• He dresses Gogo as a Japanese schoolgirl and
O-Ren in traditional kimono.
• Thus the violent actions of these female
characters—among the most extreme in either
ﬁlm—are used to parody the gender roles
Playing with Genre
Japanese samurai ﬁlms
from the 1970s on often used
extreme blood effects.
Tarantino takes the visual
convention to even greater
excess, thus playing with
Some choreographic devices
now border on cliché. We've
seen so many ﬁghts in
silhouette that this sequence
from Kill Bill can evoke
memories from the entire
The Good, The Bad and the
• The music played
when Sentenza (Lee
Van Cleef) appears
for the ﬁrst time ("Il
Tramonto" by Ennio
Morricone) is used
in Kill Bill: Volume 2
when the Bride exits
the church and ﬁnds
Intertextual references: A
Professional Gun (1968)
City Of The Living Dead (1980)
• A woman is buried
alive, like The Bride
in Kill Bill: Volume 2.
Dead And Buried (1981)
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
• Shooting through the cereal
is a reference to the
episode of the Simpsons
features an episode of Itchy
and Scratchy called
Resevoir Cats (a parody of
Resevoir Dogs), guest
directed by Quentin
Tarantino. In the cartoon,
Tarantino turns up and
says : "What I'm trying to
say with this cartoon is that
violence is everywhere. It's,
like, even in our breakfast
• Extra twist:
• You can think about
what Tarantino does
that is different to
• You can include this
in your essay.
• An essay: “How
post modern is
Kill Bill is
compared to Pulp